YouTube's live TV streaming service is here and we've got all of the details that you need to know
YouTube TV, the streaming giant's take on a live, internet-based TV service, has officially launched in the United States. Available on both iOS and Android, YouTube TV offers live streaming content from traditional broadcast networks, as well as several cable channels, for $35 per month.
Just like similar services from AT&T and Sling TV, YouTube TV lets you watch its live content on your iPhone or iPad wherever you are. Here's everything you need to know about this new streaming service.
So what is YouTube TV?
It's YouTube's streaming TV service, similar to offerings like Sling TV or AT&T's DirecTV Now. With YouTube TV, you can watch live programming from broadcast networks like NBC and ABC and cable channels like ESPN and FX. There are also channels that you can add on to your subscription.
How is this different from a cable TV subscription?
Once you've signed up, you can take YouTube TV with you wherever you go. While many cable services offer apps that let you stream channels around your home, the channel selection often gets cut down when you head out. Additionally, there are no commitments or contracts when you sign up, and you can cancel at any time. Finally, YouTube TV costs a lot less than the average cable subscription.
How much is this going to cost me?
For $35 per month, you get access to 40 channels, with more to be added over time. You can also add Showtime for another $11 per month and Fox Soccer Plus for $15 per month.
When you sign up, you can get a free one-month trial, after which you'll need to pay.
So exactly what channels am I getting for my money?
The channel lineup for YouTube TV at launch is as follows:
- The CW
- ESPN 2
- ESPN U
- ESPN News
- Comcast SportsNet
- Fox Sports
- Fox Sports 1
- Fox Sports 2
- The Disney Channel
- Disney XD
- Disney Junior
- SEC Network
- CBS Sports Network
- NBC Sports Network
- NBC Golf
- Fox News
- Fox Business
- National Geographic Channel
- Nat Geo Wild
- Universal HD
- YouTube Red Originals
- Showtime ($11 per month)
- Fox Soccer Plus ($15 per month)
- NBC Universo
- ESPN 3
- BBC America
- BBC World News
- WE tv
- Local Now
- Shudder (Add-on)
- Sundance Now (Add-on)
What about DVR?
YouTube TV's cloud DVR lets you record shows without any storage limits, though you'll only be able to keep your recordings for 9 months.
So is it one person per subscription?
Actually, you can have up to six accounts per subscription, great for sharing with family members or roommates. Keep in mind, however, that you can only watch up to three streams at once.
You mentioned iPhone and iPad, but what about Apple TV?
At launch, the only way to watch YouTube TV on your television is with a Chromecast, though of course if you have a Chromecast-enabled TV already, you're set. The app doesn't support Apple TV at this time.
However, YouTube does say that they'll support "even more connected TV devices" later this year, so take that for what you will.
Sounds good. Where do I sign up?
Limited? What do you mean limited?
Currently, YouTube TV is only being offered to customers in New York, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, Chicago, and Philadelphia. You'll need to wait for the service to roll out to your area before you can use it.
It's also worth noting that YouTube TV uses your location, so you won't be able to sign up and start streaming unless you're actually in one of the supported cities.
Why do I have to wait, exactly?
While we can't say exactly why, the limited rollout is likely tied to deals. While other such services have been content to launch with live cable channel support and only limited availability of broadcast channels like NBC and CBS, those broadcast channels seem to be a core piece of YouTube's offering. In order to offer those channels, YouTube needs to make deals with local affiliates across the country.
It seems that YouTube thought it better to get something off the ground and expand rather than wait on deals everywhere.
Alright, fine. When will it come to my area?
YouTube doesn't have a schedule for when it expects to roll the service out to new cities, but you can sign up here to be alerted when it is available. Additionally, if you try to sign up through the app only to find that YouTube TV is not available in your area, tap the Alert Me When Available button, enter your email address, then tap Submit to sign up for an alert.
Any other questions?
If you have any other questions about YouTube TV, let us know in the comments.